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Author Topic: National Parks Master Thread  (Read 22057 times)

Online SSLPhD

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Re: Which US national parks have you been to? Which was your favorite?
« Reply #75 on: May 17, 2020, 11:16:39 AM »
My question if focused on your statement "you have to be willing to hike to experience and appreciate all of its beauty, not just drive..."

The problem is, that's not possible for families who travel with very little children and/or babies.

Hence my question to you and to everyone else here who's been to many NPs like you. Can you please list your top ten or twenty NPs (or even state parks for that matter, if they're nice enough), in order of your favorites, but specifically keeping in mind someone who can't go on any long or strenuous hikes, or any hikes impractical or unsafe for small children.

With that in mind, would Glacier still be your favorite? Or would that alter your order of preference entirely?

...

I'd like to go back to most of them, though Glacier is also high on my list. But at this point in life it's gonna have to be with little kids in tow.
Out of the 30 National Parks I've been to, 25 have been with kids 5 and under.  We just don't do long hikes, and that's fine...

Many moons ago, when I was in my early 20s (pre-kids), we did a ranger-guided hike to Iceberg Lake in Glacier National Park.  That's a 7-hour roundtrip hike, mostly uphill on the way there, mostly downhill on the way back.  The most memorable part was the knee pain on the way back.  Each step downhill sent shooting pain to my knees.  When we got back to the car, I wanted to sit for a year.  In retrospect, we were in terrible shape and should not have done the hike.  Having young kids actually keeps us from doing hikes we are not prepared for.   :-[  My new approach to hiking is that the payoff has to be something truly unique.  7 hours to hike up close to lava, I'll get through it somehow.  7 hours for a view?  Not a chance.

To answer your question, here are some NPs with nice hikes even kids can do/other activities for kids:

Indiana Dunes NPsand dunes
White Sands NPsand dunes
Great Sand Dunes NPsand dunes
Carlsbad Caverns NPcave
Mammoth Cave NPcave
Wind Cave NPcave
Hawai'i Volcanoes NPlava tube/cave
Sequoia NPhike to the General Sherman tree
Olympic NPHall of Mosses, beaches
Grand Canyon NPwalk up to great views
Yellowstone NPlots of short walks on boardwalks
Bryce NPshort walk among hoodoos

Almost all national parks have ranger-led activities that are appropriate for kids.

I have a friend that runs the Grand Canyon rim-to-rim-to-rim every year as a birthday present to himself, so he likes long hikes.  When his son was a year old, they did a cross-country road trip hitting up about 20 national parks.  He carried his son in his arms everywhere, so obviously no long hikes, but they still managed to see and enjoy quite a bit.
AK,AZ,CA,CO,CT,(DE),FL,HI,(IL),ME,MD,(MA),MI,MN,MT,NV,NH,NJ,NY,OR,PA,(RI),TX,UT,VT,VA,WA,WI,WY

Offline Galitzyaner

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Re: Which US national parks have you been to? Which was your favorite?
« Reply #76 on: May 17, 2020, 11:28:13 AM »
Most states are lifting those restrictions. Seems that most everyone wants to be open (to some extent) by Memorial Day.

I haven't found a list, I just google specific states for updates.
HERE's a list that is updated. There's been good progress, but there's still some pretty states that unfortunately haven't lifted their travel restrictions yet

Offline Traveler718

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Re: Which US national parks have you been to? Which was your favorite?
« Reply #77 on: May 17, 2020, 12:07:48 PM »
Thanks for your informative response, you really grasped my issue and what I'm seeking, I appreciate your perspective.

I find your comparison of Glacier to Banff & Jasper interesting (and mention of Peyto Lake just makes me want to go back). So in summation, aside for the traffic/parking issue, would you still suggest Glacier to someone who's already explored Banff/Jasper and won't be going on any long strenuous hikes?

(BTW, your above list doesn't include obvious choices like Yellowstone or Grand Canyon. Is that because it was directed at me and I've already been there? Because I've been to Bryce and you included that as well. Just wondering.)

Yes, my list meant to exclude places I thought you'd already gone. GC and Yellowstone are both great with kids, but I saw that you'd already been. Overlooked that you'd already gone to Bryce. As kids age though, some places are definitely worth going back without them. For example, when we did a family trip to GC, we hiked 1.5 miles down South Kaibab Trail to Cedar Ridge with a 1.5-year-old on my back. I almost passed out on the way back up. Years later, I went back alone and had a much easier time hiking to the bottom, staying overnight, and back up the next day.

As for Glacier, it's dear to my heart and I could never tell somebody not to go. But as I said before, it's quite similar to the Canadian Rockies (hence the proximity). If you loved the Rockies and want something similar without border crossings, by all means go. But if you want a diverse change of pace, you might want to first look into some of the others I mentioned.

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Re: Which US national parks have you been to? Which was your favorite?
« Reply #78 on: May 17, 2020, 12:29:40 PM »
Yes, my list meant to exclude places I thought you'd already gone. GC and Yellowstone are both great with kids, but I saw that you'd already been. Overlooked that you'd already gone to Bryce. As kids age though, some places are definitely worth going back without them. For example, when we did a family trip to GC, we hiked 1.5 miles down South Kaibab Trail to Cedar Ridge with a 1.5-year-old on my back. I almost passed out on the way back up. Years later, I went back alone and had a much easier time hiking to the bottom, staying overnight, and back up the next day.

As for Glacier, it's dear to my heart and I could never tell somebody not to go. But as I said before, it's quite similar to the Canadian Rockies (hence the proximity). If you loved the Rockies and want something similar without border crossings, by all means go. But if you want a diverse change of pace, you might want to first look into some of the others I mentioned.

Thank you, Very informative.
If i can add my personal experience, I've gone to the following NP with a baby carrier and immensely enjoyed hiking in them.
Bryce, Zion, Yosemite, Acadia.
Plan on going to GSM, Badlands,Wind cave, TRNP,  shortly and doing the same.


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Re: Which US national parks have you been to? Which was your favorite?
« Reply #79 on: May 17, 2020, 12:50:33 PM »
If i can add my personal experience, I've gone to the following NP with a baby carrier and immensely enjoyed hiking in them.
Bryce, Zion, Yosemite, Acadia.
I get the first three, as I did them as well. I was actually looking into Acadia recently but couldn't find any "jaw-dropping" sceneries that I've gotten so used to seeing in the southwest NPs or Canadian Rockies. The scenery seemed like I can find the same in the Catskills/Adirondacks without having to travel to Maine.

Obviously this is all very subjective, but wouldn't mind to be shown information than can perhaps convince me otherwise.

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Re: Which US national parks have you been to? Which was your favorite?
« Reply #80 on: May 17, 2020, 01:29:49 PM »
The scenery seemed like I can find the same in the Catskills/Adirondacks without having to travel to Maine.

Inland, maybe. But along the coast is spectacular.
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Re: Which US national parks have you been to? Which was your favorite?
« Reply #81 on: May 17, 2020, 01:48:28 PM »
Inland, maybe. But along the coast is spectacular.

Agreed. The view at the top of precipice trail is nothing like the Adirondacks... (here it is: 1, 2, 3, 4.)




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Re: Which US national parks have you been to? Which was your favorite?
« Reply #82 on: May 17, 2020, 02:20:52 PM »
I get the first three, as I did them as well. I was actually looking into Acadia recently but couldn't find any "jaw-dropping" sceneries that I've gotten so used to seeing in the southwest NPs or Canadian Rockies. The scenery seemed like I can find the same in the Catskills/Adirondacks without having to travel to Maine.

Obviously this is all very subjective, but wouldn't mind to be shown information than can perhaps convince me otherwise.

Will definitely have to write a TR to change that perception.

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Re: Which US national parks have you been to? Which was your favorite?
« Reply #83 on: May 17, 2020, 02:50:09 PM »
Agreed. The view at the top of precipice trail is nothing like the Adirondacks... (here it is: 1, 2, 3, 4.)
Gorgeous. Imagine that view in the fall.

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Re: Which US national parks have you been to? Which was your favorite?
« Reply #84 on: May 17, 2020, 02:54:17 PM »
PSA: The Precipice Trail in Acadia is normally closed until mid-August due to endangered birds that nest there. A much more accessible alternative is the Beehive Trail, which we enjoyed immensely.

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Re: Which US national parks have you been to? Which was your favorite?
« Reply #85 on: May 17, 2020, 03:27:36 PM »
PSA: The Precipice Trail in Acadia is normally closed until mid-August due to endangered birds that nest there. A much more accessible alternative is the Beehive Trail, which we enjoyed immensely.

The Peregrine falcon.
Let us hope they even open by mid August.

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Re: Which US national parks have you been to? Which was your favorite?
« Reply #86 on: May 17, 2020, 05:54:00 PM »
Agreed. The view at the top of precipice trail is nothing like the Adirondacks... (here it is: 1, 2, 3, 4.)
Wouldnt do Precipice with kids under the age of ten though.

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Re: Which US national parks have you been to? Which was your favorite?
« Reply #87 on: May 20, 2020, 01:13:50 PM »
Montana lifting quarantine restrictions on June 1. Yellowstone NP has stated that the reason only the WY entrances to to the park have opened is due to the MT quarantine, so this likely means that all entrances - and, I assume, all roads - will be open by that time.

https://nbcmontana.com/news/coronavirus/gov-bullock-to-address-phase-2-of-reopening
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Re: Which US national parks have you been to? Which was your favorite?
« Reply #88 on: May 20, 2020, 01:16:36 PM »
Montana lifting quarantine restrictions on June 1. Yellowstone NP has stated that the reason only the WY entrances to to the park have opened is due to the MT quarantine, so this likely means that all entrances - and, I assume, all roads - will be open by that time.

https://nbcmontana.com/news/coronavirus/gov-bullock-to-address-phase-2-of-reopening
The West Yellowstone entrance is open in the winter so I'm not sure this means all roads are opening.

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Re: Which US national parks have you been to? Which was your favorite?
« Reply #89 on: May 20, 2020, 01:32:21 PM »
The West Yellowstone entrance is open in the winter so I'm not sure this means all roads are opening.

How does that impact anything? At the moment only the lower loop is open. They want to open the other entrances but MT didn't let - which is changing now. And you can't have the three MT gates open without opening pretty much all the roads as well.
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